A few weeks ago one of our pastors posed a challenge to our women’s Bible study group — what can you do today to create a better, more fulfilling life? A lot of us came up with more prayer at the top of the list along with reading our Bibles more and starting to serve others.
There were a lot of great answers and our assignment was to seek God on what He was directing us to do. This is a great exercise to follow, especially if you are venturing on your own to start a business or work as a freelancer. It’s one thing to have all of your research, planning, and goal setting set for the New Year. It’s quite another to map out your personal and spiritual growth — without these your business won’t flourish the way it was meant to.
One of the important things that jumped out at me as I’ve been pondering my own answers was to recognize as a believer in Christ that God is my employer. This might be a new concept for many — but it’s true. The Bible says so!
23 Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24 (NIV)
15 The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:15 (NIV)
19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19 (NIV)
I’m trusting God to lead and guide me into the plans and purposes He has for my life along with taking daily action. Here are 7 things I’ve decided to do each day to change my life — your list might look different than mine, and so I hope you find the time before the end of the year to map out your own personal life game plan.
1 – Spend more quiet time with the Lord
With all of the constant distractions coming it’s been more and more of a challenge to get into a peaceful place so that I can just quiet my mind and talk with God. I’m learning stop, and take the time to remember the things He has done for me and to thank Him for things He has done no matter how small. Sometimes I take a 30 minute nature walk away from the cell phone, computer, and other noises of my home office. Other days I get up earlier to have that quiet time with God and throughout the day I make it a point to tell Him what’s on my mind and to remind myself of His goodness.
2 – Pray about everything
Whether I’m starting a new project or about the make a phone call I’m training myself to check in with my heavenly Father first and ask for confidence, wisdom, direction, peace, and help if my feelings are starting to take over. I used to just jump into things without stopping and seeking Him first. While I still make this mistake from time to time I’m actively trying to be aware of this pattern, and repent when I’ve just moved right on past God. I want to recognize that He wants to be involved in all aspects of our lives and have an intimate relationship with his children. I’m finding the more I give to Him first that my energy is extended and things turn out much better than I ever expected or imagined.
3 – Write the vision
I admit I’m still working on this one — that’s why I’ve included it here. Last year I wrote out my goals, which included writing more on this blog, paying down debt, and building up my savings. Then I never revisited my notes until a few months later. My pastor reviews his goals monthly! This has inspired me to do the same, but I need to write a clear vision for the year first. Here’s a great verse that will help all of us:
And then God answered: “Write this.
Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
It’s on its way. It will come right on time.
Habakkuk 2:1-3 (MSG)
4 – Stop looking back
Have you ever read the story in Genesis 19 when Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt when she looked back on Sodom? I think of that story a lot when I find myself going in that direction. My new method to counter those negative thoughts that come to visit is to remind them of the promises of God, and to focus especially on what the Word says about my future. That’s why Jeremiah 29:11 is one of my favorite verses to quote. Focusing on the love of God and what He has in store stops me from looking back in regret.
5 – Have a yes attitude
A few years ago I was saying ‘yes’ to so many things that I was becoming overloaded and burned out. And then I swung the pendulum the other way and was finding it difficult to say yes based out of fear. God did not give us a spirit of fear, but power, love, and a sound mind. He also gives us wisdom, and my goal is t be more open to opportunities with a ‘yes’ in mind while walking in wisdom if it’s something God is actually leading me into. I had this happen recently where I was asked to teach a class. I decided to have a positive response, but was honest in my approach that I would need to check my current schedule. Sure enough I discovered some things that currently would not work with teaching, and so I had to decline. But I felt more satisfaction in the fact that I was more open to it with clear communication to the other person asking.
6 – Celebrate how far you’ve come
I love what Joyce Meyer has to say and this has always stuck with me over the years:
“I May Not Be Where I Need To Be But Thank God I Am Not Where I Used To Be.”
She goes on to say:
“I’m Okay, and I’m on My Way.”
Isn’t that the truth? I’ve come to realize that it doesn’t do any good to think about the current circumstances of where I’m at. I don’t want to miss out on what God has already brought me through and helped me to achieve over the last ten years. For example, I started freelancing from a very small job on Craigslist in 2007, doing a very low skill job as a blog commenter. Over the years I’ve added quite a bit of knowledge including social media marketing, content marketing, blog writing, branding, and more. It’s encouraging to look back on your progress — we may not be where we want to yet, but be encouraged that it’s going to happen when you keep your “eye on the prize.”
7 – Expand your learning
Over the last year I’ve committed to reading a new book at least one a month — knowledge is power! It’s one of the foundational keys to success that moves us out of stagnation and into motion. The current book I’m into right now is “The Hollywood Commandments,” by DeVon Franklin. Before that I finished “Good or God,” by John Bevere. Building on my existing skills and learning some new ones is another way I want to continue to stretch and grow myself in the new year.
So what will your list look like as you start your planning for 2018? Instead of creating just a ‘goals’ document or vision board discover first what you can change first personally in your faith and in business. You’ll be surprised what you find out and will be encouraged to follow through.
It’s not hard to become an online freelancer or start your own business while working in a full-time job. Just download my free eBook, and get started on your career today: